Bucks County Herald

Palisades' Donnelly discusses comparative performance data

CLIFF LEBOWITZ

Dr. Michael Donnelly, the new director of curriculum, assessment, and instruction for Palisades School District, likes what he has seen from the faculty and has suggested a utilitarian guideline for the use of comparative performance data.

“Our teachers are doing a great job,” he offered at the outset of his position’s annual review of district data, at the Nov. 1 school board meeting. “I don’t see anyone sitting around, distant from the students. They are actively engaged, doing lots of things.”

Regarding the data, which compares district schools and their grade levels with their counterparts statewide and elsewhere in the county, both in subject areas and test scores, he cautioned against looking at raw numbers without explanation.

“While it’s great to see the district doing so well in the comparisons, when we see where it’s not, it’s simply an opportunity to target intervention toward doing better,” he said. “And where we see especially exemplary performance, we want to find out how they did it, so we can see how we might bottle it up for all the schools.

All of the data from this presentation is posted on the district website, and I’d be happy to hear from anyone who has questions.”

Data includes Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System, Keystone, and Advanced Placement, as well as SAT and ACT test scores. Among particulars, the data shows high levels of probability of success for district students in performing to at least a B grade in college in various subjects. Other data shows high levels of probability for district students’ college readiness, as well as persistence in remaining toward graduation.

Donnelly, who started in the position last summer, is now working with teams from each school to develop specific plans for accomplishing academic performance improvement. Those plans are to be presented at the Jan. 10 meeting of the district’s educational and program services committee meeting, at 7 p.m. in the high school audion.

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